15 Share-based payments

As of 31 December 2017 and 2018, the Group had the share-based compensation plans as described below.

The total compensation cost for share-based compensation plans recognised in net income was USD 55 million and USD 47 million in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The related tax benefit was USD 12 million and USD 10 million, respectively.

Restricted shares

The Group granted 29 914 and 24 627 restricted shares to selected employees in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Moreover, as an alternative to the Group’s cash bonus programme, 276 483 and 194 536 shares were delivered during 2017 and 2018, respectively, which are generally not subject to forfeiture risk.

A summary of the movements in shares relating to outstanding awards granted under the restricted share plans for the year ended 31 December 2018 is as follows:



Weighted average
grant date fair value in CHF1

  Number of shares


Equal to the market price of the shares at grant.

Non-vested at 1 January 


483 844



219 163






–322 238

Outstanding as of 31 December


380 307

Leadership Performance Plan

The Leadership Performance Plan (LPP) awards are expected to be settled in shares, and the requisite service as well as the maximum contractual term are three years. For LPP 2015, LPP 2016, LPP 2017 and LPP 2018 awards, an additional two-year holding period applies for all members of the Group EC and other key executives. At grant date, the award is split equally into two underlying components — Restricted Share Units (RSUs) and Performance Share Units (PSUs). The RSUs are measured against a return on equity performance condition and will vest within a range of 0–100%. The PSUs are based on relative total shareholder return, measured against a pre-defined group of peers and will vest within a range of 0–200%. The fair values of both components are measured separately, based on stochastic models.

The fair value assumptions in the grant valuations include market estimates for dividends (and an additional special dividend of CHF 3.00 for the LPP 2015) and the risk-free rate based on the average of the 5-year US Treasury bond rate (for LPP 2015) and the average of the 10-year US Treasury bond rate (for LPP 2016, LPP 2017 and LPP 2018) taken monthly over each year in the performance period. This resulted in risk-free rates between 1.8% and 3.1% for all LPP awards.

For the year ended 31 December 2018, the outstanding units were as follows:



LPP 2015

LPP 2016

LPP 2017

LPP 2018

Non-vested at 1 January

310 080

348 339

511 141






353 171


–7 395

–25 188

–23 788

–7 914


–302 685




Outstanding as of 31 December


323 151

487 353

345 257

Grant date fair value in CHF















Non-vested at 1 January

341 955

472 628

696 804






286 193


–8 150

–34 180

–32 426

–6 413


–333 805




Outstanding as of 31 December


438 448

664 378

279 780

Grant date fair value in CHF





Unrecognised compensation cost

As of 31 December 2018, the total unrecognised compensation cost (net of forfeitures) related to non-vested, share-based compensation awards was USD 49 million and the weighted average period over which that cost is expected to be recognised is 1.9 years.

The number of shares authorised for the Group’s share-based payments to employees was 4 411 532 and 4 172 886 as of 31 December 2017 and 2018, respectively. The Group’s policy is to ensure that sufficient treasury shares are available at all times to settle future share-based compensation plans.

Global Share Participation Plan

In June 2013, Swiss Re introduced the Global Share Participation Plan, which is a share purchase plan that was rolled out for the benefit of employees of companies within the Group. Swiss Re makes a financial contribution to participants in the plan, by matching the commitment that they make during the plan cycle with additional Swiss Re shares.

If the employee is still employed by Swiss Re at the end of a plan cycle, the employee will receive an additional number of shares equal to 30% of the total number of purchased and dividend shares held at that time. In 2017 and 2018, Swiss Re contributed USD 11 million and USD 11 million to the plans and authorised 162 487 and 197 194 shares as of 31 December 2017 and 2018, respectively.